Here's the story, my Hard Apple Cider tastes like Bananas. And I have no idea why.
I started my Hard Apple Cider on October 31, 2009 at 10:30 PM. That is when it went in to the primary fermenter. My recipe is as follows:
6 gallons cider [pasteurized, organic, local, really yummy but tart start]
4 ounces American Oak Chips, Light Roasted
11.5g Safale S-04 Dry Ale Yeast
Since the cider was pasteurized and fresh, I did not do a boil. Everything was thoroughly sanitized as always. I added the ingredients straight to fermenter, capped it, and left it alone.
My starting conditions were cider at 66F; OG 1.053; pH 3.43.
After two days it started fermenting crazily and steadily fermented for a week. I do not have a setup with which to cold crash it or force carbonate, so I was leaving it to do its thing.
My temperature meter shows that the average temperature has been 68F the whole time, with a max of 74F and a low of 63F. I have checked it at one week, it was still fermenting, so I left it for another week, which brought me to today.
Today, I tested my cider, it was 71F, pH 3.74 ... and I could not get a good read on the SG. At first it read 1.006, then 0.998, then 0.992. I did another pull, got the same three readings, but in reverse. I really have no idea why - I think my hydrometer might be messed up somehow -- I tested it in straight water at 70F and it read 1.015 :\ ....
That said, I went for a taste test. Smell? Smells like hard cider. Taste? At first, clean, crisp, pretty good ... and then it hits you like a wall, it tastes like a mix between green and overripe bananas. That flavor absolutely dominates the experience. So I ask, WHY?
And is there any cure for this?
I am going to go with the "just wait" theory. Rack it when I have time on Saturday, and let it sit for another month. Then bottle it.... However, I have no clue at all as to why this is coming out tasting like bananas.
My understanding is that beer tastes like bananas when there is a high presence of fusel alcohols, caused by brewing it too warm or with a low oxygenated wort ... or, if you leave it on the trub too long - but my understanding of too long was in the category of months not days.
Thoughts and suggestions on how to cure this are appreciated.